One-third high school teens spend 30 hrs a week on 'screen time'

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Washington, Mar 13 : Almost one third of the high school teenagers are spending an average of 30 hours per week in front of the screen, says a new study.

During the study, the researchers examined 1,293 seventh grade students from 10 Montreal high schools and observed the patterns of screen-time including time spent on viewing television, video, computer and the Internet.

"Boys and those whose parents had lower educational attainment were much more likely to be in the 'high-screen time' group," said Tracie A. Barnett, Ph.D., lead author of the study.

"Teens with high levels of screen time may be at increased risk of obesity," she added.

The students were asked to complete in class questionnaires four times a year for five years where they gave the details of their usual number of hours spent watching television or videos, and using the computer or surfing the Internet.

The findings revealed that 52 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls reported average total screen-time levels above 42 hours per week.

52 percent of boys and 39 percent of girls reported average levels of TV/video use above 23 hours per week while 24 percent of boys and 7 percent of girls reported average levels of computer/Internet use of almost 30 hours per week.

Moreover, neighbourhood social factors also played an important role in influencing the patterns of screen-time.

The girls belonging to neighbourhoods ranked as the lowest third were more likely to have high screen-time up to five-fold while boys living in neighbourhoods that had the lowest level of education were more likely to have high screen time up to two- to three-fold.

"Researchers need to explore why adolescents' (notably girls') levels of especially television and video screen-time viewing through high school are higher if they live in neighbourhoods that are socio-economically disadvantaged," said Barnett.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's 48th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

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